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QUESTION: My GT class assignment is to learn a new skill. I have always wanted to write a fantasy novel. If you could help me out by answering a few questions I would be very thankful. Please Email me back ASAP.


ANSWER: Hi, Celeste.

I'm happy to answer some questions for you.  Shoot them to me at

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much,
1. What is the first thing you do when creating fantasy?
2. What does fantasy mean to you?
3. How do you make your new world believable?
4. what process do you go through to create a fantasy?
5. What is the most crucial part to creating fantasy?
thanks, I may have some more later. your help is very apprieciated.

1. To me, starting a fantasy novel is no different from starting any other kind of novel. I begin with a general idea of a story.  For my fantasy novel, WISH YOU WERE HERE, that general idea was: "What if a kid from modern Earth is transported to a fantasy world?"

2. Fantasy generally indicates something that - no matter how realistically portrayed - could not happen in the real world. Typically, this is because it contains something that defies physics (such as magic).

3. World-building is a huge part of fantasy, to me. If the world isn't believable, your story won't be, either. Crucial to this process is taking into account everything a total stranger would notice about the place. What's the weather like? How many moons does the world have? What's the structure of society? What are the dominant religions? What are the common flora and fauna like?  Things like that.

4. Everyone's process will be different, I imagine. For me, creating a fantasy is no different from creating any other type of story, as far as process goes. After the seed of the story is planted in my head, I then need to create characters that fit the needs of the story. I need to build the world as described in the last question. Then I need to flesh out the story with plot points and then go on my merry way of writing it.

5. Some people seem to think writing a fantasy story is simple. They think that, because it's a totally made-up world, they can do whatever they want. But to me, the most crucial part of creating good fantasy is consistency. Yes, you can create a world positively dripping with magic... but that magic must have rules. You can't have an "anything goes" mentality, because you'll probably ruin any sort of suspense in your story. If your wizard can wave a wand and have virtually anything happen, where's the challenge? It's very tempting to use magic as your "easy out" of any situation. But that rarely makes for a satisfying story.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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